What is one small thing you can do that would make a massive difference in Year 12? What if you heard it could improve your ability in every subject? That it could dramatically improve your writing ability? And what if it only took 20 minutes a day?
When I arrived at my very first English class for Year 12, my teacher decided to tell the class, ‘Only one thing will decide your final grade. And that is how many books you have read in your life.’
This, I decided, was an exaggeration – there are a few more factors which will determine how you perform in English, not least the amount of effort you put in! But the core point is this: you can’t reach your potential as a good writer if you don’t read. Year 12 is not too late to start!
You should read every day.
I hear you groan. I hate reading! I haven’t read a book since I was in primary school except for the books I have to read for school! I don’t have time!
But hear me out – anyone can put aside 20 minutes in their day. It might mean cutting out your social media deep dive before bed or dragging yourself away from Mario Kart (which has just been released for phones, I’ve been reliably informed). Creating a rhythm is hard work, but if it’s for reading, the benefits will vastly outweigh the inconvenience of that 20 minutes put aside. Once you get into a book, you might even find that you want to keep reading, beyond those 20 minutes!
A great time to read is while you’re taking public transport, so you can use your time productively, or just before bed, as reading is a great way of winding down that doesn’t rely on technology. You don’t even have to read books if you don’t like them – read the latest news, or a magazine, or articles on subjects which interest you.
So why should you take the time to read? Let look into a few different reasons.
- Improve your vocabulary. This can obviously have benefits in everyday life, but also is particularly helpful if you’re a student. This is an important part of improving your writing. As an English tutor, I don’t think I’ve encountered a student who doesn’t wish to grow their vocabulary. This is the easiest way of doing so, unless you find it fun to search for synonyms or memorise word lists!
- There are long-term benefits to reading. It has been found that reading daily strengthens neural pathways, and can even reduce the chances of early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
- Increase your memory capacity and focus. Some studies have shown that reading, by strengthening brain pathways, actually helps short-term memory recall. Think of how helpful this could be to your studies as a whole. Additionally, in a world where information is readily available at the click of a mouse, we need ways of practising concentration and focus.
- Time to relax. This is simple – you’re studying hard, and you need time to relax and unwind. If you don’t give yourself this time, you might come close to burning out. Reading is a great stress reliever. Why not use something that’s going to ultimately benefit you, rather than mindless scrolling on your phone?
Need any more persuading?
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